PROSPECT- Four phones were recently installed on either end of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The National Alliance on Mental Illness teamed up with the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Suicide Prevention Program to make it happen.
It’s just a telephone, but it has the potential to save someone’s life. Unlike other phones, it will only call one number.
“When someone picks up one of those phones, they are immediately connected with a clinician from the Maine Crisis Network,” said Greg Marley, Clinical Director of NAMI Maine.
The phones were installed this month, and they aim to serve as a resource for someone in dire need.
“If someone is in a suicidal crisis, they are still often ambivalent. There’s a part of them that’s struggling with hopelessness and there’s a part of them that wants to continue living. And so all over the country there’s plenty of evidence that shows that these really work. Interrupting somebody, getting them the help they need, is very effective,” said Marley.
Phones like this exist all around the country, but these are the first in Maine. The decision to install them on this bridge came in response to concerns of risk, and they serve to remind people that even during the toughest times, they aren’t alone.
“I think the biggest piece is a recognition that suicide is often a preventable tragedy, and that preventing it often requires the availability of help. Someone for someone to reach out to and talk with about what’s going on. And when that is available, people can connect with help rather than connect with hopelessness,” said Marley.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available. You can call 1-800-273-8255 to be connected with a prevention hotline.